Great News! Advice NI, the leading charity, has been awarded £500,000 for a project to open up the digital world of the internet to isolated older people living in sheltered housing, residential and nursing care homes across Northern Ireland.
The project which is funded by Big Lottery Fund and managed by Advice NI is called Supporting Active Engagement. Advice NI will recruit older volunteers to become ‘Internet Champions’ who visit Fold sheltered housing schemes and private care homes, and run classes teaching older people living there basic computer skills including how to get online.
Speaking about the project, Ciarán Arthurs, project manager of the new project and web content developer of Rights 4 Seniors, said:
“We plan to bring computer tablets to classes our older volunteers will run across Northern Ireland. We will show older people how to use computers and get online to access information on the Rights 4 Seniors’ website,”
“Older people living in sheltered housing, residential and nursing care homes who are not online are missing out on accessing key information about their rights and entitlements. Those who are able to access the internet can access a wealth of information on shopping, finances, holidays, games and hobbies.
“Supporting Active Engagement will reach out and connect with residents in Fold sheltered housing schemes such as Skerries Fold in Portrush, Kingsway Fold in Dunmurry and in Rathfriland Manor residential home. We will open up a new digital world for older residents across Northern Ireland.”
“They will have social interaction through the classes; they will be learning; they will be able to take part in social networking activities such as e-mail, Facebook, Twitter and Skype to contact their friends and family. All this will help to increase opportunities for learning, making connections and having fun.”
Frank Hewitt, Big Lottery Fund NI Chair, said:
“We are already seeing the really positive impact that the Connecting Older People programme is having on the lives of our most vulnerable older people during this period of recession in Northern Ireland.”
“The programme is supporting a range of vital projects that are transforming the lives of older people in our communities who at risk of isolation, depression, mental and physical ill health and low self-esteem. Our funding is supporting those older people who need our help the most.”